Humid summer heat lay on Chesset like a damp blanket, plastering hair to faces, shirts to backs. Aunt Carole’s makeup ran down her face in long, multi-colored trails. The presents had been opened, but really, what do you give a Lightbearer? Some perfume and lipstick from Kristen, who had been goading Mary into, as she put it, fancying herself up for a while now. A nice card from Aiden with a sweet little note scribbled inside, accompanied by a silver charm bracelet. And, wonder of wonders, a cell phone from Aunt Carole—Mary was the last of all her friends to get one. All of the gifts were now safely tucked back inside one of the gift bags and sat at the end of the bench. Only cake with too-soft icing and melting ice cream remained.
“Fifteen years old,” Kristen said. “Isn’t that the age that you’re officially supposed to go wild?”
“Now, let’s not even suggest it,” Aunt Carole said, fanning herself with a magazine.
And then, as if Aunt Carole’s words were the cue, the screaming began. It came from the far side of the park, a man’s voice but high and cracking. A figure stumbled out of the line of trees, hunched over, a man clutching his face. He wandered into the park, past the swing set and monkey bars, past wide-eyed children and a pair of Corgi dogs on leashes who couldn’t decide whether to bark or whimper. The man’s eyes were covered, but he stumbled right toward the picnic table, as if seeing it in his mind.
And there you go. There's a tiny morsel from the first page of the first chapter of Mary of Shadows, and it's all I can give you for now. The book comes out next summer from Whiskey Creek Press, so keep checking this blog for more bits and pieces until then. In the meantime, be sure to read Mary of the Aether.